Separating evangelization from doctrine renders Church’s missionary activity futile


Various journalists report that the long-awaited apostolic constitution revising the governance of the Roman Curia will create a “super-dicastery” for evangelization. The document’s title, Praedicate evangelium (Preach the Gospel) underscores the importance the Holy Father wishes to place on the Church’s missionary charism. In continuity with what Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI called the “New Evangelization,” the Holy Father reminds us that the pilgrim Church is missionary by her very nature (Ad Gentes §2).

As the Second Vatican Council teaches, “What the Lord preached one time, or what was wrought in Him for the salvation of the human race, must be preached and published to the ends of the earth” (Ad Gentes §3). Thus, any attempt at separating evangelization from doctrine renders the Church’s missionary activity futile. Evangelical action belongs to the munus docendi; anything contrary would be a false dichotomy. As the Augustinian maxim recalls, non dat quod non habet; one cannot give what one does not have.

In order to adequately proclaim the Gospel, one needs adequate preparation and contemplative insight into the doctrines of the Church. Such doctrines do not stifle the church’s missionary activity, but make it more fruitful. The future restructuring of the Roman Curia will help local churches engage others with missionary zeal, utilizing the tools of doctrinal erudition and the missionary charism of the Church to bring the saving truth of Jesus Christ to everyone.